The Cut Decision

To cut or not to cut, that is the question.

Here is my thought on cutting weight for a tournament:  if you can achieve your goal weight via reasonable meal preparation and modest calorie restriction, then go forth and conquer.  If a cut requires you to strip down to the skivvies of celery, canned tuna, water, a minimal at best personality, and no breakfast before stepping on the scale on game day, you may want to rethink your weight class.

Game day requires your best, mentally and physically, not your lightest for the sake of being in a certain weight class.  If losing pounds means you are losing necessary muscle mass just to make the scale happy, you're walking up the downward moving escalator and getting in your own way.  Muscles keep you strong.  Muscles carry oxygen.  Love them.  Feed them and keep them happy. Game day has enough obstacles between staying healthy, the drive there, and remaining calm.  Adding yourself to that cauldron of challenges will give you a flat souffle'.

My everyday walking around weight varies between 145 and 150.  When I compete, I fight Middle, which requires me to be under 152 with the gi.  If I stay with Middle, I can cut down to a walking around weight of 140-145, which means my training stays efficient, well fueled, uninjured, and FUN.  I can eat breakfast on game day without agonizing over the number on the scale of destiny that decides if you step on the mat.

I've cut to Light before.  There is NO light in Light.  It's bloody dark and miserable.  Light is a cut down to 135 so I can make the 141.5 cutoff.  Light is hilariously sad, small, meals.  Light is no breakfast on game day. Light is Deborah walking around tired, feeling exhausted, and not training as efficiently as possible.  Light sucks.  If training is not fun, then what's the point?  I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Arnis because they are exhilarating and energizing.

If you are considering the cut, take a hard and honest look at your current weight vs your goal weight, your ability to achieve your goal weight with meal prep, and your allotted time frame.  Weigh yourself once per week.  I had a pretty good cold recently and thought I had lost several pounds, due to lower than usual calorie intake, just based on how loose-fitting my clothes were for a couple days.  I thought, Oh! I bet I am way below 140!  Turns out I lost a whopping 2 pounds and was holding strong at 145.  For those who are fit and strong at a solid constant weight, consider staying there and plan for a conservative pound shaving.  Go into your fight healthy, excited, and energized.



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